Conference Speakers

Grayson Wambach

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Grayson Wambach is an experienced arts professional, cultural producer, and creative consultant who has worked across the arts and culture sector, both nationally and internationally creating experiences that work to engage and connect communities. 

He has worked with organizations such as the Chicago Humanities Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Google, and various high profile brands helping shape their live and digital experiences. 

In 2018, his love for the arts led him to the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, as the Assistant Director of University Arts Engagement. As part of his role, he developed, programmed, and produced public engagement opportunities across the university and the city of Chicago, using the arts as a connecting platform to enact social change. From there, he began to develop relationships on a national and international level, focusing on the role the arts play in shaping communities. This opened collaboration with the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, Esplanade Art Center in Singapore, and an ongoing relationship with the Science and City Festival and Valetta Design Cluster in Malta, building community engagement strategies and growing a more cohesive global dialogue through arts and science. 

Most recently, Grayson has been developing an exhibition with the European Cultural Centre, which are known for their work alongside the Venice Biennale. He co-curated an extension of their exhibition, Time Space Existence. The international exhibition, taking place in Miami, will focus on current environmental, social, and sustainability issues facing our time and directly impacting cities like Miami. This showcase will highlight the ideas and dreams of artists, architects, and designers reflecting and responding to issues from a global perspective in hopes that we can stimulate conversation, cultural growth,  and continue shaping our future together.

Presentation Title: 

Catalysts for Change: Arts Shaping Community


Art is a dynamic construct that’s always changing and evolving. The same can be said for us, our cultures, and the communities we represent. Global issues such as climate change, social and economic inequality, and the COVID19 pandemic create constant shifts in our traditional environments, forcing us to find meaning and a better understanding of the world around us. It is identifying personal value that creates real connection and positive change. In my presentation, I will focus on my transdisciplinary approaches to creative projects that work to engage and challenge perceptions, so that we can build stronger, more resilient communities. 

Jocey Quinn, University of Plymouth, UK

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Jocey Quinn is a Professor of Lifelong Learning. Her research interests focus on Higher Education and on adults learning beyond formal education in communities, arts, nature, work and activism. She is interested in knowledge transformations and the implications for social justice and draws on interdisciplinary ideas and on critical posthumanism. She has led many international and national research projects, funded by major funders such as ESRC, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Arts Council England, British Academy, Council of Europe and the European Commission. Her publications include the research monographs Powerful Subjects: are women really taking over the university? (Quinn, 2004), Learning Communities and Imagined Social Capital: learning to belong (Quinn, 2010) and Dementia and Lifelong Learning: a Posthumanist Perspective (Quinn and Blandon, 2020).

Title: Beyond Responsibility: rights and renewal in Higher Education

Researchers and students are urged to become responsible. However,  the discourse of responsibility is insufficient: instead, we should recognise the rights of all forms of matter to flourish: human and more than human. Only by making this conceptual shift can sustainability challenges be met, and neoliberal agendas challenged. HE can facilitate the necessary knowledge, but only by transdisciplinary approaches and in equal collaboration with knowledge produced elsewhere. The presentation will outline posthuman ethics of rights for HE that should underscore our research, curricula, and pedagogies. It will discuss strategies for putting these principles into practice, drawing on existing examples.

Valentina Tassone, Wageningen University

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Valentina Tassone works as Assistant Professor at the Education and Learning Sciences group at Wageningen University. Her research focuses on exploring responsible forms of education, pedagogies of care, and deep learning processes that transform people and practices and that empower learners to engage responsibly in current socio-ecological challenges. Her educational efforts focus on engaging students into personal, dialogic and artistic reflections, and transdisciplinary thinking and actions in connections to those challenges.  She currently coordinates and teaches various courses including large scale courses (about 1200 students), small scale ones (about 20 students), and one-to-one coaching guidance. She has received, three times, a Wageningen University Excellent Education award for her courses. Valentina has received grants, among others, from Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Wageningen Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Wageningen School of Social Sciences.

Title: An ethos of responsibility in higher education, teaching and learning: insights and practices

 Would you endorse the proposition that we should ‘be irresponsible’ towards each other, towards human and non-human species and our planet?  When you would not sympathize with this proposition, still there might be at least a question left: how does higher education, teaching and learning practices look like when attempting to ‘be responsible’  and to foster a culture of responsibility? In this presentation, I would like to engage us with this question. I will share some findings and practices about how to possibly foster responsibility in educational innovation, in curricula and courses and the type of learning that can help cultivate a sense of responsibility.